Check out part one first.
I don’t pretend that I have all the right answers and I do make mistakes, but I believe I am a good role model for LGBTQ+ people. I understand that so much of what happens in the world is out of our control, but what we can control is how we respond to that.
So, when I’ve face challenges I try to do so by making a success of whatever I’m doing. I’m proud that I’m a senior lawyer for a leading fashion company and I hope this shows that if you put your mind to it, you can achieve success but also the kind of life you want to live. I’ve been in jobs I haven’t enjoyed or had little prospects and I realised I have a choice and I am the only one who can and should make the choice. We have one life and we have to make the most of it. Change is good.
Being a lawyer also makes me used to debating and arguing a case, but also forces me to see and understand where the other person is coming from. This 360-degree view allows me to make a stronger and more thoughtful case and to persuade the other side to come to my point of view or to at least compromise with compassion and understanding.
At 39, I believe that I am emotionally intelligent and comfortable in my own skin. I was a bit hopeless during my twenties when my weight ballooned and I was unhappy but I’ve come through that and am now in a much calmer and happier place.
Having trained as an actor, this gives me a good understanding of people, their emotions and the ability to empathise. I’m also used to being on stage in front of small groups but also thousands of people.
Crucially I have experience in campaigning, a lot of which I have gained over the past seven years of singing with the LGMC. Whether that’s protesting outside the Russian embassy, singing for Dolly Parton on the BBC or outside the House of Lords for Equal Marriage, singing for the Prime Minister in No 10 at an event against homophobia in Sport, performing at corporate or charity events or running a singing workshop to kids with learning difficulties. I am used to dealing and working with people from all walks of life; from Prime Ministers, Lords and Ladies, politicians and celebrities, to children and their parents who may or may not have met a gay person before.
I’m also just a friendly guy and believe that we should all do our best and look out for each other. I’m actually helping one guy who works near where I live and he’s unable to come out because of his family’s religious beliefs – he’s genuinely in fear for his life. We meet for coffee occasionally when he can and I give him support, friendship and kindness.
Can you explain for my readers how the competition now works and it’s not just a beauty pageant?
I hope I covered this above. Saying that, I appreciate we have just done a photoshoot in our pants. However, it really isn’t about who is the most handsome or the prettiest, but yeah, Mr Gay Wales, Mr Gay England and I do like to go to the gym and to keep fit. However, there’s nothing wrong with promoting self-improvement or living a healthy and balanced lifestyle and I think that is something that should be embraced and shouldn’t be a target for mockery. Did I mention I’m 39? If youth=beauty (I hope not these day) then I’d be a goner.
However, if a photo of us in our pants does titlate and catch someone’s attention and allows us to spread our or someone else’s message, then great.
I can’t pretend I am completely comfortable doing such photoshoots – it always sounds weird to people who didn’t know me when I was obese but I have my own confidence issues and hang ups about my body – I guess we all do.
What I would hate is if that puts people off from applying in the future or if they make people feel uncomfortable as that’s not the intention.
I understand you have a lot of work to prepare for each category, what’s been your highlight so far?
Oh there’s so much work and revision to do!! We’re only just getting started and stuck in. I’m preparing my campaign, and working with some companies to try and do some talks, but I also need to get my head in the books to learn about LGBTQ+ issues and laws across Europe. There’s also a fitness test but I have no idea what that will entail (last year they had to run up and down a mountain – twice!) so I’ve been for a 12km run and will hit the gym in the morning. Eek.
Why do you think people should vote for you?
I’m a good role model. I’m not perfect, I’ve made mistakes, but I’m pretty successful, I can speak to people from all walks of life and have experience in campaigning for LGBTQ+ rights.
Whoever you are, whatever your gender, age, background, ethnicity, size, shape, or skin colour it’s time that we started to OWN IT and to allow everyone else to OWN IT! We need to be kinder to ourselves and each other!